News: Retired farmer & deacon donates lifesaving platelets

August 18, 2021

Deacon Marvin Klein

A retired farmer, Deacon Marvin Klein of St. Patrick Parish in Dunlap, has been donating blood since he was 18 years old. One day, a nurse suggested he try donating blood platelets.

Blood platelets are blood cells that help a person’s body form clots to stop bleeding. According to the American Red Cross, platelets are in constant demand by hospitals.

 They give cancer patients the strength they need to keep fighting, since one major effect of treatment is low platelet count. Platelets also help patients survive major surgeries or serious injuries. And they give strength to patients with blood disorders and transplants. 

“I finally did make the appointment,” Deacon Klein said. “I gave one unit and then next time I came back, they said – ‘Wow, you can give up to three.’”

Deacon Klein seems to have been blessed with a plethora of platelets, enabling him to give greater quantities each time, more than the typical donor.

Despite the time commitment and 60-plus minute car ride one way from Dunlap to Omaha, Deacon Klein keeps giving.

In fact, earlier this spring, Deacon Klein marked his 250th blood platelet donation at the Red Cross.

Positive feedback is rewarding, giving Deacon Klein sense of calling and purpose. He regularly receives letters from the Red Cross, informing him when his platelets are received by someone in Minnesota or other locations across the Midwest.

“A lady wrote a letter to me [after she saw the Omaha World Herald story about me],” Deacon Klein said. “She told me a personal story about a grandchild who receives platelets. And I guess all of those things encouraged me.”

“I just want to give…and I can give the donation,” Deacon Klein continued. “It’s something I can’t buy. But if you’re dying of cancer, it’s something you could sure use.”

When he’s not busy making trips to and from Omaha to donate platelets, Deacon Klein can be found on the tractor helping his two grandsons raise chickens or helping out at his parish.